THOMAS PASATIERI (b.1945): Frau Margot.
Catalogue Number: 10J094
Reference: TROY 965/966
Description: An ingenious and highly effective piece of metafiction; an opera about an opera, based loosely, in conception, upon real characters and real events, and examining the complicated question of how, why and whether a composer's work should be completed or reconstructed by another composer after his or her death. The composer Künstler (loosely modeled on Berg), who had many extramarital affairs, left his final opera unfinished; his widow (Margot) jealously guards the incomplete work and evaluates potential candidates to finish it, finally granting permission to a young American composer, Steinert (even more loosely modelled on Bernstein). She begins to identify Steinert with her late husband; Steinert has a relationship with Margot's companion, Kara, who is revealed as a lover of Kunstler's who had aborted a child; Margot poisons Kara. Ambiguity over the conclusion of Künstler's opera is resolved through this sequence of events and provides the bereaved Steinert with the key to completing the work. Both the plotting and the music are tightly focused and elegant, and the piece works very well on many levels. Firmly grounded in tonality, the work is resolutely post-romantic and instantly accessible, with an irresistible narrative flow and sense of pace, conforming to the conventions of the opera house while avoiding the narrative interruptions of the classical genre and remaining to the point throughout. And the musical and music-historical references will permit you a steady flow of self-congratulation when you spot them. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Lauren Flanigan (soprano), Patricia Risley (mezzo), Morgan Smith (baritone), Allan Glassman (tenor), Fort Worth Opera; Joseph Illick.